By contributing writer Lauren Scott for Arizona Farm Bureau: The Evans family can trace their agricultural presence in Arizona back to 1887 when, as a family biography puts it, Dr. James Poole Evans brought his family to the Arizona Territory. James settled himself and his family in the Buckeye Valley, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then the family has owned many different farming operations, putting their hearts and souls into each one.
An interview with Richard Evans, Jr., Gilbert, Arizona
An ongoing series about Arizona’s farmers and ranchers.
Tell us about your agriculture businesses. We are basically retired from farming now. Having sold, bought, sold, bought, and sold our holdings over the past 30 years or so.
The Evans family.
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming and/or ranching? Well, I am old enough to remember hand picking cotton, and us kids jumping into the trailer of cotton from the cross board on the trailer. We bought our first cotton picker in the late 1960s - early 70s. Then came the cotton module builders that put an end to my many, many trips to Chandler pulling a cotton trailer to the gin. Regulations were almost nonexistent as to pesticide applications on one’s own farm. Many hot summer days were spent burning weeds on ditch banks and roadways. We tried many "experimental" gadgets and products to combat pests, enrich
Pesticide use has been greatly reduced in recent years. The Pink boll worm pest is now gone. I remember when the miracle herbicide Round Up was introduced. What a great product, but oh so expensive at over $100 per gallon! (A lot of money in those days!)
Why did you choose to go into agriculture? I didn't go into farming, I was born into it. I never knew anything else. I Started raking hay at around age 9 or 10, getting up at
Will anyone in your family -
Would you ever consider growing an emerging crop or changing your farm or ranch model? Actually, after we sold the bulk of our farm in West Chandler, I raised several alternative crops. I first raised Eldarica pine trees from seedlings. The second and third years we opened our farm for “U CUT” Christmas trees. That was a fun experience having families come and walk the "forest" and cut down their own Christmas tree. Over the next couple of years, the remainder of the trees were dug and side boxed for landscaping. Following the pine
What are your community activities? Why are you involved? At the moment I am the 2nd Vice President of Maricopa County Farm Bureau. I’ve been involved with the Farm Bureau for about 13 years. I feel it is even more important now than ever before to get involved with your business or profession. There are so many outside forces working against us and our livelihood that we need to be ever vigilant to protect our way of life and the heritage that has been ours for generations. It is also our responsibility to educate our urban neighbors about our way of life, how we care as much as they do and even more about the environment.
What is one fact/experience/achievement no one knows about you? I am NOT one to blow my own horn; it is not my nature. But, not many people know I served a two-year mission for my church in Spain and at 63-years-old I took up learning to play the mandolin.
What do you think you do really well? Explain. Again, I’m not very comfortable talking about myself but I think I grow some of the best sweet corn in the Valley. I consider myself an accomplished steel fabricator and I can build about anything that involves welding. I enjoy visiting with the public around my corn trailer. I’m not normally outgoing, but find it easy to engage people about our
Why are you a Farm Bureau member? Our family has been involved with the Farm Bureau for as long as I can remember. As a little guy I remember Farm Bureau picnics with tractors and implements on display, local pot luck dinners, and my grandparents Evans involved on the county and state level. We've always had Farm Bureau insurance on the farm and the vehicles. There are lots of great people to associate with, a good insurance product with great service, highly-effective legislative presence and a source of information for members. I believe the Farm Bureau is the best organization watching out for our industry, our families, and our livelihood, all directed by us as members on the local level all the way up to the national level.
Rick Evans and his family have a long tradition of serving including leadership service to Farm Bureau.
How will the next generation of farmers have to operate? I think they will have to always be looking over their shoulder if they are operating outside the myriad of regulations and restrictions being placed upon us. I don't say this to be facetious, I just think agriculturalists will need to be constantly learning and informing themselves of the world around them and their place in that world and how they are perceived. Regulations,
What is the best business advice you have ever been given? If I may, I would rather give advice than think of advice I've been given. I wish that Mom had